Long-Tail Searches Vs Short-Tail Searches

Search Engine Optimization : Long Tail versus Short Tail Search Terms

Is your website optimized for both
long-tail and short-tail search terms?

It’s no secret that Google knows search. In fact most wouldn’t argue that Google understands the intricacies of search better than Yahoo!, Bing, and every other search engine combined. So when Google feeds the public information about search, for example, stating that roughly 20 percent of all searches are unique queries, those who conduct Internet marketing ought to listen.

What do long-tail and short-tail searches mean to Internet marketing professionals?

To start, unique search queries are long-tail search queries, or long-tail searches. These are searches that are typically three to five words in length and not considered to be short-tail terms – phrases that are relatively competitive, typically just one or two words. A long-tail phrase is often directly related to a specific item, product, or service, which greatly increases the value of the visitor. The only setback with optimizing a website for long-tail search terms is that the search volume for each exact use of the term/phrase is extremely low. However, while this may limit the visitor count for specific keyword searches, the variations of related search terms (also long-tails) can generate traffic that greatly outweighs traffic derived from short-tail terms.

Secondly, the other side to searches is short-tail, or specific keyword search queries. This tells marketing professionals that a great deal of traffic can be derived through ranking for high volume, often competitive and difficult to optimize for, search terms; although for most, this is common knowledge. So the smart solution is to conduct a search engine optimization campaign that targets both long-tail and short-tail keywords and phrases.

Finally, the Internet marketing professional must figure how to optimize the client’s website to target both types of searches. The key is execution. We want a mixture of search terms that everyone is fighting for, which takes a bit more time and patience, and ones that few are fighting for, highly targeted and more likely to convert into a customer or client.

Knowing that trying to rank for short-tail terms means that conversion rates will initially be poor, but that when rankings are achieved, conversion rates can be quite high, one must plan for the future. So start by building landing pages around your broad-terms, make sure you include a lot of detail about the targeted keywords/term, then regularly publish onsite articles that are relevant, and be sure to inter-link the content appropriately.

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